Today is the day Mr and Mrs L headed off into the Valley of Fire………fortunately a State Park so not subject to the continued closure of all things national. A short 58 mile drive north up the I-15 got us to this dramatic park. The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, dedicated in 1935; it passes through the Moapa Indian Reservation.
This park ought to be classed as one of the ‘Wonders of the World’ – it was like stepping into another world with a spectacular scenery of grey, cream and red rocks and mountainous eruptions of all shapes and sizes. Some of it is much like what I would envisage a lunar landscape to look like. The striking red sandstone formations set against the background of the Mojave Desert make the Valley of Fire a sight to behold. The red sandstone formations were formed from the great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Shifting of plates and complex thrusts, uplifts and faulting followed by extensive erosion have created what we saw today – rock forms such as beehives, the fire canyon, rainbow vista, seven sisters, white domes, petrified logs, mouse’s tank, silica dome – I could go on, so many amazing natural rock formations.
The grey ridges are made of the oldest rocks from 250-550 million years ago. The red rock is caused by iron deposits and is younger having been laid down a mere 66-250 million years ago.
This desert, a valley which is part of the Great Basin, was once a sea 500 million years ago. It was a sea that was warm and shallow and teeming with life for 400 million years. There is evidence of prehistoric life and the area was lived in from 300 BC to 1150 AD by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples, known as the Anasazi. Three thousand year old Indian petroglyphs (rock art) can be seen – Mr L climbed up to look, Mrs L took a photo from ground level as she has a perfectly good zoom lens on her camera!
Wildlife seen today were several antelope ground squirrels and two wild horses. Apparently, the antelope ground squirrels are carriers of the bubonic plague. Mrs L was very happy not to see any tarantulas, scorpions or sidewinders (rattlesnakes) – also known to live in the area!
We did attempt to go on to Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam but the road was closed due to the National Parks closure……..so, we turned around the car and drove back to Vegas via Overton, a somewhat bleak place but which has amazing scenery nevertheless.
Mrs L then underwent decadent preparations for her evening ahead – a soak in a ‘Euphoria’ Dead Sea bath supping a glass of white wine! The white wine was a gift from a random man who was checking out of the Bellagio this morning – he asked Mrs L if she drank wine (she assured him she did) and he handed her a bottle of ‘Cupcake’ Chardonnay that he hadn’t found time to drink and couldn’t take with him. Mrs L was taught not to talk to strangers, but nothing about accepting a bottle of wine from a stranger!! Very nice the wine was too!
All preparations completed Mr and Mrs L headed off to the Grand Canal of the Venetian for dinner………pizza at Otto’s in St Mark’s Square and then back to the Bellagio Casino.
Overall, a very successful night at the casino! Mrs L was initially up $4 on her initial $20 but proceeded to lose it all playing Big Six; Mr L started with $50 and ended with $100 so he was in profit. It was then time to put a few $1 notes into the only slot machines that we can vaguely work out what is happening! Lo and behold…….Mrs L was a winner – $50 made, so her evening ended in profit after all; Mr L then went and made $250 on his machine.
Time to quit whilst ahead so now off to bed.